Mar
2007

waiting and previewing

I am still waiting for comments from my exam committee–mainly whether or not I passed–which has left me in some what of a limbo. I know there are things I can be doing to move toward the only step left, writing the dissertation, but I’d like to hear from my committee about specific directions I can go in my three areas of study before outlining my 5 chapters. I might even want to draft articles based on my exam question responses since I did so much reading in preparation and don’t feel I got a chance to use a lot of that literature. So til I hear, I’ve been cleaning the apt. like a mad woman and watching way too much television. Who knew I’d ever become addicted to The OC???

Next week we go to NOLA for Easter weekend, to see the friends that matter most, and to research stuff for our wedding (date still to be determined…)

I am still working on my interactive interview with New Orleans bloggers and posted follow up questions this week. It’s been amazing to see it all sort of happen on a wiki without me, i.e., whenever people have the time to contribute. I can’t wait to start writing a paper about how this technology offers the chance to reflect upon what’s been going on in the NOLA blogosphere!

Speaking of which, I’m posting the abstract that got me into the Oxford Internet Institute here so to get feedback and let everyone have a glimpse at where I see my dissertation going:

Since 9/11 people’s responses to tragedy have evolved, and where “news-telling” occurs has expanded. The immediacy of the Internet allows web sites and weblogs to have their own validity, levels of interaction, and concept(s) of truth. Previously unheard voices are now speaking to wider audiences than ever intended. When local citizens “go global,” in a phenomenon some refer to as placeblogging, the whole world can read about (or watch videos of) someone’s daily life, and in post-Katrina New Orleans, those days are saturated with loss. Yet, via the burgeoning New Orleans blogosphere, we can read these accounts of witnessing, reacting to, and dealing with that loss and, more importantly, answer their calls to action.

The Post-Hurricane Katrina Blogosphere and its Ability to Heal, Inspire Recovery, and Celebrate the Rebirth of New Orleans begins by exploring the breakdown of communication during Hurricane Katrina and then offers examples of how online spaces since created by native, displaced, and “naturalized” New Orleanians encourage new ways of creating knowledge and inspiring activism. I also include data collected from an interactive interview where New Orleans bloggers and I discuss our reasons for going public with our opinions. Our reflections and ongoing dialogue demonstrate how writing continues to help us work through the natural and man-made disaster we experienced in August of 2005. Ultimately, my dissertation aims to illustrate how the typically de-centered and diverse web creates knowledge in a collective way more effectively than traditional media and thereby enhances the definition of technological literacy.

Let me know what you think and I’ll be sure to post follow ups as soon as I hear more about my summer programme schedule.

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Mar
2007

4Cs in 5 hours

Considering my stupid virus, my conference experience was not as full as I would have liked. I presented yesterday morning and don’t feel good about how extemperaneous I was. I would have liked to read from note cards and be a little more professional, but I hope the content of my slides spoke for themselves. I did meet some great Katrina-interested folk and ran into fellow bloggers before my job interview. That, too, was different than I expected, more straightforward Q & A than a conversation, but considering it was my first one, I think I did well.

We shall see.

Right now I am hanging with old friends and their precious baby girl. I will post pics of her later.

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Mar
2007

on my way to Cs

After suffering a virus I thought I would never shake, I’m finally back in society and at the Charlotte airport waiting to get on a flight to NYC. I had been so looking forward to 4Cs this year but now it looks like I will only spend time at the conference tomorrow when I present then have my job interview. I hope I make it to the Blog and Wiki SIG so I can see some familiar faces.

Need to find something to eat. More later if I’m still stuck here.

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Mar
2007

Oxford and Harvard and a fever, oh my!

My Spring Break has been spent catching up on sleep and going to baseball games. I haven’t spent too much time on the computer or reading but know I have to soon to prepare for 4Cs.

When I did check my email yesterday I found a fantastic bit of news:

Dear Daisy,

Thank you for applying for a place on the Oxford Internet Institute’s fifth
summer doctoral programme organised in partnership with The Berkman Center
for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. The applications we received
were both diverse and excellent, and I am delighted to inform you that you
have been awarded a place in this year’s programme. Could you please let me
know by Friday 23rd March if you would like to accept this offer?

Naturally, I accepted and am freaking out over this opportunity to work on my dissertation with such an amazing faculty! I applied last year and didn’t get in, but I think revising my application to more clearly state my research methods and submitting a different writing sample worked this time. This year the programme is being held at Harvard so I get to go back to Boston, site of my intro to grad school life and many an evening in a coffee shop studying.

As for the fever mentioned in this post’s title, I don’t know if I was just so excited or if I’m down with a 24-hour bug, but I’ve been fluctuating between 102 and 99 all night. Right now the fever has broken, but I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way. Anyone have any home remedies I should know about?

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Mar
2007

Day 3, I'M DONE!

So tired

Didn’t think I’d be this tired

Finished the 3rd exam a half hour early. Couldn’t write anymore. Think I did well though.

Strangely enough, I kinda appreciate this whole rite of passage now…for so many in academe, we protect our research ideas and can slip into a cocoon, never having to defend these ideas until the dissertation defense. These exams make me feel a little smarter now—assuming I passed—because someone is actually grading my on-the-spot interpretations of key concepts.

Maybe I’m talking nonsense because I am so tired, but I’m sure some of you out there know what I mean.

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Mar
2007

Day 2, getting tired

Day 2 of my exams was in the area of trauma theory. Since I’ve been reading texts of this nature for about a year now and the details are typically vivid, I wasn’t nervous about recalling the central themes. I was, however, freaked out when I got to school and all of a sudden felt exhausted. I bought a smoothie to perk me up and just kept my I-pod on my “Mix 4 Exams Playlist.” 😉

A half hour before I was to go in to take the test I was pumped up and that lasted about three hours. The last hour of my exam I was fading but I managed to answer all of the questions I needed to, but the last short 2 answers might not be as developed as the others. Oh well…one more day to go!

I got a lot of sleep last night so all I will do today is stay home and read til about 6pm tonight when I go to my ZUMBA class. Yay!

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Mar
2007

Day 1, down!

I won’t divulge the details about my exam questions, but I think Day 1 of PhD exam-taking went well. I hyped myself up this morning by listening to the Black Eyed Peas and told myself that I was just going to school to take care of something for 4 hours, then I’d go straight to the gym for my Cardiofunk class. Just your every day routine on Mondays. I think this visualization exercise worked too.

I got to school early to check out a book fair, score some free finger sandwiches, and scope out the exam room and computer I’d be using. In the past there has been an ancient Dell in there and I’ve heard horror stories of machines not saving work, etc. But since I was flying solo today, I knew I’d have more space. All looked nice and organized, although besides staring at the computer I’d be facing the wall instead of the glass door. I guess that was for the best since I could easily be distracted by people walking by.

When it came time, my proctor and I chatted briefly before the exam began, then it was nothing but me and the sound of typing for 4 hours.

The time thing was interesting because any time I asked my fellow grad students and my professors about how long the answers should be, everyone would just say, “Spend an hour each on the long essay ?s and 15-minutes on the 4 short answers.”

“OK, but how many pages should I aim to produce? Like, will I not pass with distinction unless I have five pages or is three pages just as good as long as I drop some names?”

Their response, “Make an outline and make sure to budget your time…”

So without knowledge of any precendent set ahead of me, I ended up with 12 pages today. I know the page length issue is subjective, but you’d think that the professors would be able to offer some sort of response about what they’ve graded in the past. It’s not like my proctor gave me one question at a time and then said, “OK go. You have 1 hour!”

Nonetheless, I shouldn’t babble too much longer. I feel good after working out and am sipping on a Cherry Picker smoothie. Oh! I weighed myself again this morning and it turns out I’ve lost 6 pounds in the past few weeks. Yay!!!

OK. I need to go home and make up my note cards for the next day of test-taking. Laters…

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Mar
2007

the novelty of blogs no longer?

I read this earlier on Jill/txt but didn’t decide to link to it until I realized how many insightful comments were left there. And after all the reading I did today about the uses of blogs, this post reminds me of the reasons why I haven’t always used blogs in the writing courses I teach and why I enjoy the scholarship on the medium so much–it’s always evolving!

While I doubt I’ll go where the students are–on Facebook or MySpace–and try to use it for classroom purposes, this whole discussion about forced blogging is one to make note of, and perhaps even mention tomorrow in my exam essays!

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Mar
2007

we've come a long way, baby

One last post for the night.

Just read about TechPresident, “a new group blog that covers how the 2008 presidential candidates are using the web, and vice versa, how content generated by voters is affecting the campaign.”

If you go to the page and see the candidates’ social netwotking stats on the side, all I can say is wow! I had heard on the news about YouTube allowing candidates free video space, but wasn’t that familiar with the MySpace and Facebook campaigning. Can I really be friends with Barack, Hillary and John??? 😉

Considering all my looks at blogs in campaigns “way back” in 2004, this conference looks cool too:

pdf

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Mar
2007

to die for

This has to be quick but as you know one of the areas on my exams next week is Trauma Theory. With that comes a lot of reading of typically depressing things–about war veterans, Holocaust survivors, and unexpected deaths. But I find it to be the most insightful reading I’ve ever done and think our society should be more open to discussions of dying rather than make it a taboo subject, which does nothing to prepare us for how to deal with it when it faces us.

Here are links to some readings I’ve found intriguing this week:

Joan Didion’s “After Life,” which is the opening to her book The Year of Magical Thinking. Go buy the book–it’s fantastic and sad and beautifully written.

Dave Winer’s “Preserving Ideas” and Ryan Meehan’s “Life, death and mourning on the social web: What should Newsvine do?” are both interesting takes on how long our online presence lasts after we die and what mainstream sites should do to let our “network” know, if anything.

Finally, a book I’m reading for my Autoethnography class, Communicating at the End of Life: Finding Magic in the Mundane. I never thought I’d be open to the idea of volunteering at places with people on the cusp of dying, but Foster’s book tells us all about the rewards of doing so through her experience with hospice that I think I actually could one day. The book is written as an evocative tale of her meeting her patient Dorothy and interviewing other volunteers, and I think anyone interesting in communication and discourse, never mind human life and experience, would benefit from it.

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Mar
2007

countdown til PhD exams

Haven’t blogged because I’ve been either studying or procrastinating in ways that keep me off the computer, namely by working out! I’ve lost 3 pounds but a whole bunch more inches all in the past month, so that’s making me happy. Certain pairs of pants are fitting again, and just in time for warmer weather! Yay!

In “If Katrina hadn’t happened…” news, my parents are down to 1 cat after having 3 vivacious ones. It looks like there’s some wild creatures-either cats or dogs-that like to fight with my parents’ kitties so they’ve been getting beaten up badly. One had to be put to sleep over a month ago and the other my dad brought to the vet so they could take care of him and also adopt him out. We’re all upset about this because, despite my father’s asthma preventing them from having an inside cat these days, if Katrina hadn’t taken our 13-year-old Trina cat away, they wouldn’t have ended up with 3 new kittens in the first place! It’s so hard because you get attached so quickly. These little cats were like the 3 muskateers and now that they’ve grown a bit and started to explore the Mississippi terrain, they’ve gotten hurt. I wish Andy and I lived closer to my parents that we could drive over and bring the cat(s) back home with us, but again, we’re stuck here until school comes to an end. 🙁

Let’s hope that my PhD exams next week are the first step in the direction of getting me closer to being finished and outta here!

Here they are when they were tiny
kitties

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